2017 Lunar New Year Reminder

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Cosplaying as Musicians

Cosplay is not a hobby contained only to anime and manga fans. There is huge amounts of western comic book and video game representation at conventions. Even certain alternative fashions, both eastern and western, make their appearance. If you’re into steampunk, visual kei, cyberpunk, lolita, decora, any subset of Japanese fashion, etc, you can throw your con badge in the air and be pretty certain that the person you hit could be your new best friend. If you take into consideration the overlap of so many interests in one place, it’s not so strange that people also choose to cosplay as Japanese musicians!

Kyary Pamyu Pamyu is an obvious contender for most cosplayed j-pop artist. Not only does she have a memorable, unique image, but her fame has spread overseas in ways no other pop musician from Japan has! Every new video she puts out showcases bold new looks that cosplayers who love a challenge gladly take on.

Perfume has had time to rack up a huge fanbase over the past 14 years. While Kyary eats pseudo-kawaii Harajuku fashion for breakfast, Perfume takes on a more high fashion approach to their coordinated idol outfits. This doesn’t mean their outfits aren’t as ambitious; I’d love to see some Spring of Life cosplays at a convention someday!

We take a departure from the pop scene and get into the intersection of rock music and goth fashion with this cosplayer. Although it’s slightly less mainstream, visual kei and goth fashion is still as prominent as ever amongst fans of bands like GazettE.

A lot of visual kei arists are known for having wild (i.e. amazing) hair and makeup, making it a challenging and appealing cosplay endeavor.

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<p>And, I mean, who doesn’t want to be Miyavi?</p>
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Eat More Anime Food (For Your Cosplay)

We all know that the more dynamic a cosplay photoshoot, the better and more realistic the photos will look. Having a cosplayer stand in front of a blank wall may convey the quality of the styling and costume but there’s so much more you could do! Whether it’s the environment around them or other cosplayers, it’s the interactions taking place in photos that convey personality. Although it’s a very simple idea, adding food to your cosplay photoshoot adds a huge layer of depth! What kind of food have you seen your character eat? How enthusiastic are they about eating? Do they share their snacks with friends or pets? If you think about it, you might realize that there are heavy associations between your favorite characters and their snacks of choice. Just to name a few; L from Death Note is has a notorious sweet tooth, C.C. from Code Geass eats mostly pizza, Sailor Moon eats everything, etc. Certain snack and drink brands have been popularized outside of Japan because of anime, such as Pocky and Ramune.

If you’re cosplaying a high school student, odds are the most appropriate food prop for your shoot is a bento box. Bento boxes can say a lot about a character depending on how elaborate the meal is or how cute the box itself is. Who does your character have lunch with? What’s their vending machine drink of choice?

Maybe your character often finds themselves in front of a hot bowl of ramen!

Or maybe your character is just consistently late to high school?

A little effort goes a long way in cosplay photography; treat yourself and your crew to a special lunch during your next photo shoot and you’ll bring those characters to life in the process!

Keeping Conventions Safe for Everyone

For a lot of people, anime conventions serve as a safe place where certain types of self expression are welcomed and celebrated. If you’ve been to conventions, you know the amount of time you’ve spent anticipating the weekend; saving money, booking a hotel room, making travel arrangements, getting in touch with friends, and generally building up the expectations of a great time. Despite the effort it takes, some people are lucky enough to attend many conventions in a year. For others, particularly the younger crowd, it’s outside their means and control to be able to attend more than one or two, so imagine how special a single con might feel for any given attendee. You get what I’m saying; conventions unify people through enthusiasm in ways that are different from day-to-day life.

So if we’re all so excited to be at a convention, why is it that base levels of human decency aren’t always a given? There has been a history of harassment and even assault at conventions over the years. Although social media has provided an outlet for people to share their stories and spread the message that things need to change, it can just as easily be used to perpetuate the things they’re striving to end.  Over this past San Diego Comic Con weekend there was an incident where a cosplayer was found bloody and unconscious on the side of a road without ID. As if this wasn’t unacceptable enough, it was the same weekend that Adrianne Curry chased down and beat up a man that was sexually harassing her friend. A little over a year ago at the 24th A-Kon, there was a group of people threatening con-goers with sexual violence over Twitter using the hashtags #gropecrew and #rapecrew as well as tweeting pictures of female cosplayers at the convention. Later in 2013 at New York Comic Con, a camera crew was sexually harassing female cosplayers. The video has since been taken down from YouTube but related articles can be found here.

Stories like these are heartbreaking for the entire community and as much mistrust as these incidents create, the force fighting back is much stronger. Groups like Geeks for CONsent are creating a presence supporting anti-harassment policies at conventions. Their website accepts submissions for personal stories in an effort to spread awareness and give a voice to victims in a safe way. A CNN article goes into detail about the goals of Geeks for CONsent and provides a video full of testimonials that they show at conventions.

Next time you’re at a convention, consider some simple tips that will help both you and everyone around you enjoy their convention to the fullest:

1. Ask for permission: Whether it’s making physical contact or simply taking a photo from afar, the most respectful way to approach a situation is by asking what the other person is comfortable with. Especially with cosplayers it’s easy to forget that they are not the character they are portraying, but an individual person with their own personality and feelings. If the person is a cosplayer, it’s safe to assume they also put a lot of effort into their costume and it might be fragile and subject to breaking from physical contact. Similarly, if you would like to take a picture it’s important to ask first. Cosplayers are generally more than happy to pose for photos if you ask, so it’s disrespectful to catch them off guard. You want a nice photo and they want to look good! If for whatever reason they decline, don’t take it personally. There are a million reasons for someone to not feel comfortable being photographed at any given moment, and in an era of social media, people have the right to avoid putting themselves in a position where their photo might be spread on the internet.

2. Don’t take things personally: This goes hand in hand with asking for permission. You couldn’t possibly know the circumstance of someone’s experience without having ever met them. You don’t know what they will respond positively or negatively to, even if you are well-intentioned. If an uncomfortable situation arises, the easiest way to diffuse is to genuinely apologize. If you don’t feel capable of handling a situation or someone is being persistent or aggressive, immediately tell convention staff. They are there to help keep your weekend safe and positive so don’t feel like it’s your responsibility to deal with someone who has disrespected you or anyone around you.

3. Look out for others: If you see someone in distress, do not simply keep it to yourself. If you prefer not to get involved directly, tell convention staff. If you misread the situation and everything is fine, no one will be upset by your considerate behavior. Everyone wants to do their best to keep everyone safe, especially if it’s within their control. If one of your friends says something or does something that is making another con attendee uncomfortable, it is your responsibility as their friend to make them aware that their behavior is inappropriate. If friends are able to keep each other in check, it will lead to a much smoother, pleasant experience.

We all make mistakes and we are all learning, but if we strive to be aware of how we interact with and affect other people, we are taking a huge step towards everyone’s goal of creating a safe environment! Stay positive and have fun!

 

The Perks of Cosplaying Idol Anime

Idol groups have been around throughout the history of contemporary j-pop music. From the dawn of idol culture in the 1970’s, teen girls (and boys), mostly between the ages of 14 and 16, attain idol status when they rise to fame as actresses or singers. The innocent, youthful, and optimistic image of the idol lifestyle made it’s first big boom in the 80’s, producing 40 to 50 idols in a year. Idol culture has since branched out and expanded over the decades, giving us tons of record holding artists that have become household names. Morning Musume is the longest running female idol group, holding the record for the most consecutive top 10 singles (56) for any Japanese artist. C-ute won Best New Artist by have a streak of 24 top 10 singles. If you spend any amount of time at a Japanese karaoke bar, chances are you’ll hear Heavy Rotation by AKB48. Idols are integral to the Japanese pop culture scene, so it’s only natural they’ve left their mark on anime and manga as well!

In recent years we’ve had Idolm@ster, Love Live! School Idol Project, Uta No Prince Sama, AKB0048, Wake Up! Girls,  and currently airing, Locodol. Every anime has it’s soundtrack and unique characters, so what is it that sets idol anime apart from the rest? Particularly, what makes it so perfect for cosplay? The potential for group cosplay? Matching outfits? Upbeat dance routines? Original songs? Yes. All of those things, actually.

One could say that the theme of idol anime is often the celebration of hard work and friendship. Nothing makes a fandom richer than the collaboration of fans! It’s thanks to these shows that we get to see groups of cosplayers go the extra mile and learn entire dance routines together. If these shows are inspiring people to work together to create costumes, sing, dance, meet new people, and push each other to new levels of self expression they might otherwise never experience, then they are succeeding in spreading their message.

Any cosplayer will tell you that cosplay is about more than just putting on a costume. It’s about a sense of community, and idol cosplay communities are gems that you will be delighted to discover and be a part of.

Convention Tips

Whether you are new to the convention world or a veteran, there are a few things that you should keep in mind while you go and nerd out with fellow con-goers. We don’t expect you to follow these tips or you have some of your own but these are good things to keep in mind!

1. Keep hydrated. Now this may sound very simple but while you are running around the convention center, taking pictures, buying merchandise, etc. you might forget to drink anything. Same goes for keeping yourself full as well. Nothing is worse than being dehydrated and hungry while waiting in the long lines. Make sure to bring a backpack and fill it with little snacks and a bottle of water.

2. Carry a small bag. Going along with number one, you need a bag in order to carry your snacks and your drinks. It’s especially essential just in case you buy small items and the seller doesn’t have a bag to give you. We know carrying a bag is a hassle but if you think about it, you’ll probably end up buying a bag anyway at the convention.

3. Small sewing kit. You never know if your cosplay is going to rip or tear and it is always good to have something for a quick fix. Also, if you make your own costumes it is always important to make sure that your costume stays together. Who knows, maybe someone steps on it and rips it. Granted you would have to sew it by hand but it’s better than having a ripped costume.

4. Money. This one is obvious. In order to buy any cosplay, merchandise, or any food at the convention, you need to have money with you. Credit cards are okay too but most places might not have an ATM machine for you to retrieve your money. Be sure to keep extra for food, hotel, and any other expenses you might need. Like your mother always said, “Don’t spend it all in one place!”.

5. Lastly, you want to have fun. What is a convention without a little fun? Forget the drama, forget that test that you have the next day; well don’t forget that but you get the point. Forget all the problems you are having and just relax. Conventions are for fun, they shouldn’t be stressful. Even if your costume didn’t get finished, or that photo shoot didn’t go as well as you had wished, you still need to have a bit of fun.

 

Call to Cosplay Airing Tonight

Whether you’re a fan of cosplay media or have a subscription to Crunchyroll, you’ve probably heard of the new Myx TV show Call to Cosplay. The show offers two participants a theme, a budget, and 8 hours to craft a costume to compete for a cash prize. Costumes and performances will be evaluated by a panel of judges and scored on four main criteria: authenticity, creativity, “wow” factor and craftsmanship.

Each of the six episodes will have a theme: sports anime, magical girls, American/non-Japanese characters, throwback anime (pre-1990) and heavy metal armor throw-down. The series is hosted by Keith Kawamura.

The first episode aired on June 30th and gave introduction to the hosts and cosplayers but we’ll get a real taste of this game show spin on cosplay tonight at 10pm EST when the second episode becomes available for premium users on Crunchyroll (and free users on 7/22). Take the day to catch up and watch the first episode or some of the bonus content found on their Youtube!

 

Live action animes

Either you love them or you hate them but during your journey through the millions of anime that are out there you have to of come across live action versions of anime. Like any other anime there are good ones and then there are the really bad ones. There are many adaptations of anime in live action format. Trouble is though, some of the live action movies about a certain anime tend to leave a lot of the little things. Every movie that was based off of an anime or a manga tend to leave out minor things so they can get right to the plot and meat of the story.

So why would you want to watch these movies if they leave out things that you may have deemed important or necessary to the story line? Simple: they are fun to watch. Seriously, who wouldn’t want to see an actual person portraying your favorite character? If they do it right, you could fall more for that anime you love so much. Not only is it fun to watch, they might do their own twists on events that might make you enjoy that more than the anime. Let’s face it, if you’re a huge fan of a particular anime and something didn’t go the way that you expected it to. With live action movies you can possibly see a part in the anime go the way you wanted it to! Isn’t that every anime lover’s dream? So whether you’re an avid fan of anime or not, you might just enjoy the live adaptations of certain anime! Give it a try, you might just be surprised at the results!

Cosplaying in the hot weather

Summer is quickly approaching and many of you are excited to break out your cosplays but remember to keep in mind things such as the weather. No one wants to sweat in their cosplay but it’s an unfortunate fact that all cosplayers have to deal with. There are a few cosplays that will keep you cool and we have compiled a list of three cosplays that will keep you from sweating too much in the hot weather!

1. Yoko Littner from Gurren Lagann.

She is a strong type of person and she will definitely keep you cool during the hot summer, especially during August. She is famous for carrying around a giant gun but if you don’t want to be stuck lugging that around conventions or for photo-shoots or if you really don’t want to splurge on the gun, you can just go in her traditional bikini top and shorts.

2. Super Sonico

Who wouldn’t want to cosplay this adorable character? Her costume features a blue jacket, shorts, and a tee-shirt. Definitely summer ready cosplay! You won’t have to worry about the heat getting to you in this cosplay. If you nix the jacket, you definitely are prepared for the summer! You’ll be able to keep cool and look fabulous in this outfit!

3. Sakura Haruno from Naruto

For you Naruto fans out there, this is definitely the cosplay for you. It will keep away the heat due to the fact that it is sleeveless and is accompanied by a pair of shorts. Aside from the gloves you will be able to fight the summer heat as well as some ninjas!

These are the top three cosplays that you should think about wearing during the hot months of summer! They will definitely be a huge hit at your next photo-shoot, anime convention, or just to show off to your friends. Happy cosplaying everyone!

Convention proposals?

This weekend animenext 2014 was going on and just in case you missed it, we have the scoop for you. Today we are going to talk about anime proposals at cons! It seems to be that there is a lot of convention proposals that happen every year. If you’re a huge fan of anime and you love someone very much it makes sense to propose to them at a convention. Somehow it’s slightly romantic! Think about it: you’re in cosplay and you have the person you love with you. You want to be with this person for the rest of your life and you have the ring already. Why not just propose to them as your favorite characters?

It seems more like a ridiculous thing and sort of far-fetched but trust us when we say that it is romantic. This weekend we were able to see a Levi cosplayer and an Eren cosplayer from the famous Attack On Titan, propose to one another. It was beyond love and extremely sweet. This isn’t the only proposal that has been done at a convention. There have been many conventions where someone has proposed to another person, jokingly or not. It seems to be a trend that is happening in the cosplay community.

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Whether or not if you think it’s sweet or even slightly romantic, you might just see it the next time you go to a convention. Be on the look out for people proposing because they might just fulfill your dream of your favorite two characters getting married!